December 5, 2012
The Civic Federation supports the $410.9 million FY2013 Chicago Park District budget for limiting spending increases and continuing the District’s effort to eliminate its structural deficit by FY2015. By utilizing prudent alternatives to raising taxes, the District is able to hold its property tax levy relatively flat for the eighth consecutive year.
The Civic Federation remains concerned, however, that efforts to eliminate the structural deficit may be offset by the District’s continued reliance on one-time revenues to cover operating expenses. Going forward, the Civic Federation urges the District to implement a formal long-term financial planning process to identify future fiscal challenges and strategies for addressing them. Any long-term financial plans will also need to address the District’s rising personnel costs and the alarming condition of the District’s pension fund, which has fallen to a 58% funded level from nearly 100% funded ten years ago. The Federation strongly urges the Chicago Park District to work with the City of Chicago and Illinois General Assembly to implement comprehensive pension reform based on the proposal outlined by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May 2012.